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Electric Light Orchestra - Time CD (album) cover

TIME

Electric Light Orchestra

 

Crossover Prog

3.37 | 245 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Back in the early 80s, when I was a collector freshman (actually, a teenager with a few records collected), I remember "Time" being my first ELO vinyl ever. I enjoyed it very much at the time, and I still enjoy it although it is not my favorite album by a band that is not my favorite (not even in my Top 20). Yet, all things considered, being an older and wiser collector, I can regard "Time" as the last expression of real art-rock creativity by a band that had passed its prime in terms of creativity and had been undergoing a phase of artistic futility with the previous "Discovery" and "Xanadu" efforts. "Time" finds the band exploring the evidently pop-oriented trend that had somewhat got started in the overall good "A New World Record" item and ultimately deepened in the very irregular "Discovery". But this time (pun intended), Jeff Lynne and the rest of the ELO guys (three of them, since the string section had definitely been dropped out) found a consistent way to deal with its pop-related concerns: heading for a more synthesized sound and giving more room for the elaboration of clever, massive keyboard orchestrations, ELO could say that it was a powerful sounding band again. There is a certain relatedness with the sort of American AOR and British new wave that one could find each second of the day in the radio waves, but mostly, this is a recapturing of 76-78 ELO with a modern sensibility. The sequence of 'Prologue', 'Twilight' and 'Yours Truly 2095' has punch, catchiness and sensible use of synthetics - this is the sort of progressive pop that beats the inanely complex pop that Genesis (our favorite example of progressive betrayal) figured out for itself in "Abacab" and 2/5 of "Duke". 'Ticket to the Moon' is a lovely ballad with a definite Bachian feel to it, while 'The Way Life's Meant to Be' is a mid- tempo semi-acoustic piece very much in the late Beatles-meets-Wings fashion. 'Another Heart Breaks' mixes techno-pop and Pulsar-style space-rock in the framework of a slow instrumental: this is really an underrated gem in ELO's catalogue. The album's second half starts with another lovely ballad, 'Rain is Falling', less dramatic than 'Ticket to the Moon'. The up-tempo moods return with 'From the End of the World', 'The Lights go Down' and 'Here Is the News'. Since the one in the middle is just a futile attempt at recreating the spirit of white R'n'B a-la early Beatles, this leaves the former as a catchy rocker with a slight techno hint and the latter as an effective techno-rocker that wouldn't have been out of place in any 78-81 Saga album. '21st Century Man' has nothing to do with the schizoid prog anthem by King Crimson: it is a ballad that somehow replicates the solemn mood of 'Ticket', without equaling the drama - it is really a serene ballad, not a sad one. The funny 50s-style rock'n'roller 'Hold On Tight' ends the min repertoire on a positive note before the 'Epilogue' brings a properly pompous closure with calculated psychedelic effects. A very good album indeed: it was this album, not "Out of the Blue", the farewell of ELO's better days. 3.30 stars for this one.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |

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